A Hillsborough County High School student says she wants to wear her military uniform to graduation instead of the traditional cap and gown.
- Hillsborough senior hopes to wear dress blues to graduation
- Emily Olson started military career junior year
- Olson already completed basic training
- School says she has to wear uniform under cap and gown
Emily Olson said ever since she could remember she wanted to serve her country.
“It’s a big family thing. And also to help pay for college. That was definitely the biggest thing that got me in it,” she said.
The Newsome High School senior said she started her military career during her junior year in high school and she has already gone through basic training. Once she graduates she said she plans to take her career even further.
That’s why she wants to wear her uniform to graduation next week.
“My plan for graduation is to wear my dress blues to graduation because its showing my accomplishments,” she said. “I know all the other kids are going to be wearing their cords on their cap and gown and that’s showing their accomplishments, and I would gladly like to show mine.”
Her mother Julie Abueg said school leaders told them the dream of walking across the stage in uniform like her step-dad and brother did at their schools years ago, won’t happen here.
“That just sparked a very uncomfortable conversation with the gentleman who is leading the coordination with the graduation ceremony who was quick to tell me that even though he served in the military, that nobody would be allowed to wear their uniform,” Abueg said.
Abueg said she did some digging and found out the school would be violating Florida state statutes if they don’t allow her to wear her uniform. That statute basically says anyone who discriminates against any person wearing a military uniform in a public place is committing a misdemeanor.
School district leaders said they honor their students in the military. They went on to say Olson can wear her military uniform underneath her cap and gown so that all of the students in the graduating class can graduate as one.
The school’s graduation is Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Florida State Fairgrounds.